Review: Uncanny X-Force #19.1, Enter the Age of Apocalypse (Again…)

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Uncanny X-Force #19.1
Writer:  Rick Remender
Art:  Billy Tan and Jose Villarrubia [colors]

Spinning out of Rick Remender’s recent “Dark Angel Saga” in Uncanny X-Force is the new ongoing Age of Apocalypse series, and Uncanny X-Force #19.1 is essentially a prologue designed to draw in readers for that series.  Essentially, this is the second prologue written for the series, as the first appeared in the Marvel: Point One  one-shot.

Here’s the synopsis:  There’s an alternate reality in the Marvel Universe referred to as the “Age of Apocalypse.”  In this reality, Charles Xavier died, and his dream along with him.  As a result, Apocalypse ended up taking over the world (hence the name) and Magneto led a group of X-Men against him.  This very basic plot description all played out in a 1995-1996 crossover event in the X-Men books that were being published at the time.

I’ll admit right now that I’ve never read the original “Age of Apocalypse” stories.  It’s something I’ve been meaning to go back and do, but I haven’t done it yet.  All I know based on what I’ve read in Uncanny X-Force is that Apocalypse fell at some point and Wolverine took his place as the new Apocalypse, continuing to hunt down and exterminate humanity.

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In Uncanny X-Men #19.1, it’s revealed that The Exterminated (a human resistance group led by William Stryker and the daughter of Bolivar Trask) have cloned the Scarlet Witch after discovering that she was able to “cure” the X-Gene in an alternate universe (i.e. Earth-616, the mainstream Marvel continuity).  Their plan is to have Jean Grey use this clone’s powers to have her do the same in their universe to wipe all mutants of their powers.

This plan kind of works, but of course it goes wrong big time or you wouldn’t have any reason to follow the series.

If you’ve read my reviews before, you already know how I feel about Remender’s writing.  This is as well-written as anything else he’s done.  In all honesty, the only thing keeping me from being a regular Age of Apocalypse reader is the amount of books already on my pull list.  Times are tough and comic prices ain’t what they used to be, you dig?  Even if Remender couldn’t write well, this book could almost sell on the merit of Billy Tan and Jose Villarrubia’s artwork alone.  It’s crisp, clean and reminds me of the more basic comic art of yesteryear — not unlike what you typically see in Uncanny X-Force.

If you want a story somewhat removed from the typical, mainstream X-Men fare, Age of Apocalypse is definitely for you.  The only thing about this that throws me off is that, if I remember correctly, Marvel’s “Point One” initiative was designed to give new readers the perfect “jumping-on point” to a series, yet this issue promotes an entirely new series.  Is it really necessary, given that they already did another prologue in the collected Point One one shot?

Story:  8/10
Art:  9/10 

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Roger Riddell
Essentially Peter Parker with all the charm of Wolverine, he's a DC-based B2B journalist who occasionally writes about music and pop culture in his free time. His love for comics, metal, and videogames has also landed him gigs writing for the A.V. Club, Comic Book Resources, and Louisville Magazine. Keep him away from the whiskey, and don't ask him how much he hates the Spider-Man movies unless you're ready to hear about his overarching plot for a six-film series that would put the Dark Knight trilogy to shame.

1 COMMENT

  1. I loved Remenders work on the Age of Apocalypse universe throughout the Dark Angel Saga and this issue was a good read as well. But the way Remender leaves the universe to be picked up in the on-going series sounds terrible.Everything and one I knew and loved about the AoA is gone. The only reason i’ll be picking up the first issue is to see Roberto de la Torre’s beautiful art.

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